Rahul meets Manipur Governor, appeals for peace

Imphal: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appealed to all sections of society for peace in Manipur “as violence is no solution”, after meeting Governor Anusuiya Uikey here on Friday.

He described the events in Manipur as a tragedy which was “painful” for the state and the country.

“Peace is the way forward and everybody should now talk about peace and start moving towards it. I am here and will help in any way I can to bring peace to this state,” Gandhi told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan.

“I share the pain of the people of Manipur. It is a horrible tragedy. It is extremely sad and painful for all the people of Manipur and the people of India as well,” he said.

He described his visit to various relief camps in Imphal, Churachandpur and Moirang and his meetings with people from all communities.

“One of the things I would say to the government is that the basic amenities at the camps need to be improved. Food needs to be improved. Medicines need to be supplied. Such complaints have come from the camps,” Gandhi told newspersons.

Congress officials said that the Governor assured that steps are being taken to restore peace in the ethnic strife-hit state.

Earlier during the day, he met members of Manipur civil society organisations here and listened to their problems.

Among the different organisations that he met included the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (CoCoMI), a civil society organization, representatives of United Naga Council, the apex body of Naga community in Manipur, the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, and prominent personalities including JNU professor Bimol A.

Gandhi also visited two relief camps at Moirang in Bishnupur district, party officials said.

Gandhi, who reached Moirang by a chopper from Imphal, met a number of affected people and listened to their plight.

Party sources said both the camps that Gandhi visited shelter around 1,000 people.

Gandhi was accompanied by former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, party general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal, PCC president Keisham Meghachandra Singh and former MP Ajoy Kumar.

He visited the INA war memorial and placed a floral tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the freedom fighters who raised the tricolour here in 1944.

“We visited Moirang and went to two relief camps. After meeting the people of the relief camps, we visited the Netaji memorial where Rahul Gandhi paid floral tributes,” Dr Kumar said.

On Thursday, he had visited relief camps in Churachandpur, one of the worst affected towns in the ethnic rioting, which has plagued the northeastern state for the last two months.

High drama ensued during the trip, as his convoy of cars was stopped at Bishnupur by the local police, fearing the carcade may face attacks.

Gandhi eventually turned back and flew down to Churachandpur by a helicopter.

The Congress leader is on a two-day visit to Manipur to “bring a healing touch” to local communities.